Monday, December 3, 2012

Revenge "Revelations" Review

Revenge's winter finale was less finale and more traditional ninth episode before a hiatus in a long network season grind. Stories progressed naturally. Mike Kelley didn't cheat to make it feel ay more important or climatic or dramatic than the 5th or 12th episode of the season. For this alone, I liked "Revelations."

The Ashley question, specifically what is she after and what are her motives, were answered this week after the show teased it last week when we saw her nearly become a prostitute for the clichéd Russian mobster. Earlier this season, I dreamed of Emily and Ashley forming a magnificent team to take over the Hamptons and kick ass together. I wanted Ashley Madekwe to do more than wear pretty dresses and react to stuff. Madekwe was the lead on a BBC haunted house soap for two series. Ashley's been around since the pilot. I thought she'd matter more than just being a piece of ass for flat rich characters to use. She seemed more than a girl who'd undress for the first rich man who shows her check or an expensive necklace; but, she's just the gold digger character night time soaps love, the girl viewers should love to hate but she's not that. What she did to Daniel, or rather for, should've stung, but it just happened. Last week's brush with prostitution suggested Ashley overcame her struggles through hard work, but "Revelations" showed she did not do that at all. Her shallowness isn't surprising, just disappointing. Ashley won't be any more than what she's been through the series and she won't return to the Hamptons with a great plan. She's a thing to be used--by Emily, Conrad, Victoria, etc; and whoever else she meets.

The revelation of Ashley's after-hours fornication with Conrad actually re-frames Daniel Grayson as the tragic character of Revenge. Every revenge story needs a tragic figure. Power and money are meaningless when one's a puppet, powerless against the empowered. Daniel's been cheated on by two fiancées, he was nearly killed by his best friend because of his best friend's hatred for Emily and the small discovery of what she was hiding, and that in turned him heel for the rest of season one. He wanted to be a poet, but his father screwed him out of it; he wants to just 'be' and he's told he's cant, and no one will tell him why. So, his resentment, anger and frustration towards the people who hurt him most, his parents, leads him to assume power of Grayson Global that'll presumably end in tragedy, if The Initiative's vague plans involve killing Graysons, or making the head of Grayson Global's life a living hell because of Conrad's deal to free him from murder charges of the silver-haired man.

Daniel throws Ashley out of their pad when he finds her sleeping with the man who needs to vote 'yes' for Daniel's ascension to the head of Grayson Global. Aiden set it up. Aiden's thrown off the board after the deal's complete because of Daniel's jealousy; he hates seeing Emily with Aiden. Aiden, though, seemed to be the protection for Daniel against the Graysons. Nolan spoke of an inside man, so who knows what'll happen. Victoria and Conrad won't tell him the reasons they want him to give up on taking over the company because of the shitstorm that'll ensue. Daniel won't realize when his mother and Emily save his ass from nonsense. It's interesting that Daniel's a man of action, decision, and strong conviction. Indecision dooms the tragic figure in revenge stories.

Revelations are the theme. Emily Vancamps' overdone narrations returned to opine on the consequences of revelations. I hope the writers reveal the narrations come from a journal Amanda's writing after she succeeded in her plan, that they aren't the character's active stream-of-conscious thoughts because they're horribly boring to listen to. The narration hurts the perception of the character. Emily gains leverage on Victoria. After some fits and starts, a trip to Japan, and the return of her crazy mother, Emily's back in control. She took Ashley down, Mason's serving jail time for a murder he didn't commit, and Victoria needs her. She's driving the action; lives are again affected by her. Nolan has a plan to take down Grayson Global from within. Revenge is at its best when Emily owns the action.

Jack, meanwhile, learned the truth about Rich Bearded Guy and his brother. The brothers became increasingly threatening throughout the hour. They spoke slowly, in low tones, and smiled only when they shouldn't. Matt, the plot device, was beaten up by the brothers. Jack's threatened enough to close the bar early and hide upstairs, though hiding won't remove the threat. Fake Amanda needs to know so she can go old school on them. Declan's forgotten about, which is unfortunate as he lives on the doomed boat. Jack and Daniel are in the same boat--both are going to get punished for stuff they didn't do; but that's essentially Revenge. The Graysons made a huge mistake in 1995. Emily came to town for revenge. People got hurt, some innocent, some not. The point of revenge is to make it hurt, make it last. Emily's succeeding wildly in that respect.

Whatever success Emily experienced, it won't last. Crazy Jennifer Jason Leigh will be back, the Initiative will evolve into an actual threat (all they've done so far is sit at a table and discuss a vague Plan). The turbulent sea backdrop of the Revenge title card sequence is evocative of the present narrative. The waves won't subside, they'll grow and knock some folk out; the best thing for the characters is to adapt. Adapt or die. The worst, as always in soaps, is yet to come.

Other Thoughts:

-Nolan couldn't fight the Grayson Global take-over. The paper trail would've led Grayson Global to the real Amanda Clarke. Marco, Nolan's ex-lover, thinks he's horrible for letting Fake Amanda and Jack on the second floor of a bar when she's entitled to money. Nolan needs to be the dick for appearances. Marco will be working in the company again, which should piss off Emily sooner than later. I felt strange sympathy for Marco, though.

-Matt The Plot Device is an example of what I least like about network dramas. He's insignificant, was created to do something to cause a bunch of nonsense that'll span many episodes, and never be thought of again after he's written off.

-Revenge will be off the air until the new year. Enjoy the holidays. Bookmark the blog to continue reading reviews and other stuff throughout December.


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Originally, I titled the blog Jacob's Foot after the giant foot that Jacob inhabited in LOST. That ended. It became TV With The Foot in 2010. I wrote about a lot of TV.